By Liz Stevens, writer, UV+EB Technology
Yumwoof Natural Pet Food, based in Austin, Texas, makes premium air-dried dog foods. The company’s recipes are non-GMO and personalized based on a pet’s individual characteristics, applying data from extensive analysis of veterinary clinical studies. Yumwoof’s Perfect Kibble – an air-dried superfood packed with Cocomega™ superfats including omega-3s and MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) from coconut oil – is proven according to studies to help reduce inflammation in dogs and promote a longer lifespan through better gut health. The company also launched its GMO-free Perfect Dog Food Mix – an easy way to create nutritionally-complete fresh dog food by combining any protein with the mix and baking at home.
Like many retail organizations helmed by bright young leaders, Yumwoof has an eye on sustainable practices and environmentally friendly packaging. With this, Yumwoof is in good company with the top three established pet food brands, which steadily are adopting sustainability for their product packaging.
Mars Petcare, Inc., the world’s number-one pet food company in annual revenue, has product lines piloting new packaging with reduced plastic and paper, and the company’s Royal Canin line is piloting a flexible, recyclable mono-material plastic packaging. The number-two pet food company, Nestle Purina PetCare, states that 90% of its packages now are designed for recycling and made with aluminum, steel, paperboard or corrugate. The company’s aim for 2025 calls for all of Purina’s pet food bags and pouches to be recycle-ready. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, number three on the totem pole, aims to achieve 100% recyclable packaging by 2025 and currently is piloting a recyclable bag made of #4 low-density polyethylene.
Jaron Lukas, Yumwoof’s CEO and the author of The Canine Cocomega Effect, described his decision-making process regarding sustainable packaging. “I have long been searching for a sustainable packaging solution that would allow Yumwoof to achieve its goals of supporting the long-term health of our planet and reducing the risk of microplastics which could contaminate our food,” said Lukas. “That’s why I am so excited that biodegradable packaging with a long shelf-life recently has become available to us. As soon as I found out about it, we changed all of our food packaging to incorporate it—even though it cost us a little bit more.” Lukas pointed to his own concern about contributing to landfills. “It pleases me as a pet parent to be able to minimize my personal addition to landfills even further now,” he said. “And, of course, it pleases me even more to be able to offer this same benefit to our customers.”
Yumwoof’s packaging is supplied by GOpak, Delafield, Wisconsin, which offers sustainable packaging and printing solutions. Lukas worked with GOpak’s president, AJ Buran, on Yumwoof’s original packaging and on its new biodegradable packaging. “GOpak has been a great packaging provider to work with,” said Lukas. “The company understands sustainability and the goals that brands have around it, while also knowing the importance of having an airtight seal and long shelf-life for our dog food.” Lukas appreciates that GOpak has gone the extra mile to find biodegradable packaging and offer it to customers. “This is great,” said Lukas, “because GOpak is playing a major role in helping in the transition to sustainable packaging.”
GOpak offers sustainable packaging that is recyclable for store drop off, compostable for industrial and residential use, or landfill biodegradable, depending upon the material chosen. GOpak customers buy completed pouches and roll stock produced on an HP 20000 digital press with Core 100 electron beam curing technology made by PCT. The Core 100 delivers a maximum surface dose rate for 100 kV of 3 Mrad at 600/ft/min.
When asked what makes EB curing of packaging coatings a more sustainable process than other curing methods, AJ Buran’s checklist of benefits was succinct: no chemicals, no VOCs, food-safe, cures instantly and without additional heating required, and can make it possible to eliminate a layer of film in the packaging material.
For Yumwoof’s use, GOpak makes packaging with its PakZero material – PET and polyethylene that has an organic additive in each layer to facilitate biodegrading to CO2, methane and water within five to seven years. “When the material reaches the landfill in an anaerobic state,” said Buran, “microorganisms colonize on it and eat the materials.” GOpak’s packaging, available in pouches, bags and form-fill-seal rolls, is designed specifically for food and snacks, pet food and treats, meat and cheese, coffee, confectionery and chocolate, baked goods, seasonings and herbs, powdered products, and jerky and dried meat products.
With help from GOpak and its sustainable packaging, Yumwoof is running with the big dogs.